Libraries

The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry

Close up of a shelf of old books from the Oesper rare book collection

Oesper Rare Books

The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry,  are a joint venture of the Ralph E. Oesper Chemistry-Biology Library of the University of Cincinnati and of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Cincinnati. The Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry is one of the world's largest curated collections of scientific artifacts, books, journals, photos, and prints related to the history of chemistry.

Learn more about the origins of the collections and our ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark status on the About Us page.

The collections consist of three components: The Apparatus Museum, the rare Books and Journals collection, and the historical Portraits and Prints collection. Learn more about the artifact collection and historical chemical techniques in the Museum Notes and Museum Booklets linked from the Digital Collections page and explore the digital collection of artifact photos from the museum collection on JSTOR. Selected apparatus photos from the digital collection are also displayed throughout this website. 

Questions on the collections and requests to visit may be made to Ted Baldwin (Chemistry Librarian and Director of the Science and Engineering Libraries) and Mark Chalmers (Science and Engineering Librarian).  The Oesper Collections are located on the west side of the 5th floor of Rieveschl Hall.  Visit our Services page for more information about accessing and utilizing the Oesper Collections online and in person.

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Replica Retort, Charcoal Furnace, Pneumatic Trough, & Gas Bladder

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Replica of Liebig Distillation Train

The Oesper Apparatus Museum is shown with several lit wooden display cases filled with chemical apparatus, with additional artifacts displayed on top of the cases. One of two doors to the hall is propped open and several wooden tables also have artifacts on display.

The Oesper Apparatus Museum